Bryson DeChambeau: Slack lining, but definitely not a slacker
He’s a weird mix of throw back (that hat and those pants!) and a kind of new age, scientific thinker (he majored in physics) who’s definitely got the golf world wondering what he’ll do next. Bryson DeChambeau turned pro in mid-April, won $260,000 in his first professional outing and chartered a private jet to get home.
That last minute plane ride might seem a bit out of character for a 22-year-old who is a stickler for preparation. He’s obsessed with it. DeChambeau is known for soaking his golf balls in Epsom salt to determine if they’re out of balance. In the lead up to this year’s Masters, he played Augusta 10 times in four and a half months, studying hole locations and putting surfaces. Trying to figure out how he could win the course.
At times, he seems like a nerd, but he’s certainly not a stereotype. While he approaches the game scientifically, he’s not afraid to use his inquisitive mind to work out solutions to problems, whether that’s on the course or off. That mind has also pushed him to challenge himself with a fitness routine that’s anything but.
You won’t see many other golfers embracing the strange acrobatics of what’s called a “slack line.” It’s like a tightrope, suspended off the ground, but with a wider surface and more loosely strung. DeChambeau has posted videos on his popular Instagram account, showing him walking a slack line and catching balls while trying to keep his balance. It’s an exercise that forces the body to engage several muscle groups at once, but puts much of the focus on the core. A strong core is key to a good golf swing. And, he’s proving that his swing is one of the best and most consistent.
DeChambeau stays consistent and produces the same swing over and over again, because his clubs are all the same length. And, that might have the potential to transform the game by putting less stress on the lower back, resulting in fewer injuries and longer careers.
Most golfers play with variable-length irons. With each club, your body has to change posture and readjust. It’s only a slight change, but, to complete the swing, your muscles have to move in different ways, putting your body and specifically the lower back, at more risk for injury.
In fact, back problems affect a good number of golfers, professional and amateur. This year, back injuries kept both Tiger Woods and Fred Couples out of the Masters.
When he was 19-years-old, Rory McIlroy had back problems, but committed himself to a workout routine that’s made him one of the fittest golfers on the PGA and European Tours.
For golf’s new stars – players like McIlroy and DeChambeau, the game has evolved. There is more emphasis on preparation and some of that is a bit unconventional to say the least. But, they’re finding that it pays to keep in shape, both physically and mentally. That’s how you get to the top of the leader board.